PNG’s corruption watchdog says more than a third of the government's funds are stolen each year by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. An anti-corruption conference in Port Moresby has been told by Transparency International that an estimated 2.5 billion of the six billion kina budget is being pilfered.
“Think of how we treat people who are corrupt, we elect them to parliament,” said Transparency International chairman Mike Manning [right]. “Until we impose on people a sense of shame for doing wrong, we are never going to stop corruption.”
Mr Manning said PNG's government systems had gradually broken down since independence in 1975 to the point where “grand corruption” was now rife. Despite inquiries into large-scale corruption cases, no big player had been jailed, he said. A recent inquiry into corruption within the finance department was shut down when it started making progress.
Corrupt diversion of funds to private pockets meant medicines did not get to health posts, schools went without desks and books, and roads became impassable. PNG's chief ombudsman Ila Geno said corruption led to an increase in poverty and denied support to those who needed it most.
Photo: Mike Manning [Australian Broadcasting Corporation]
Source: ‘Corruption rife in PNG government system, Australian Associated Press, 6 December 2007